The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustinik — 46

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The Birds’ Symphony by George Tsintsifas

Symphonia

Yesterday, I heard two familiar pieces of music on the radio. It took me back to when I studied music at school. There, as part of preparations for our examinations we followed the music scores of Bach’s Brandenburg Concert #3 and Schubert’s Fifth Symphony whilst listening to vinyl L. P. recordings of these works. It was both a duty and joy to follow and listen under the observations and instructions of a good teacher. Over and over again, our small group of pupils would listen to the recordings until we became so familiar that we knew them off by heart for the exam to follow. Some years later, I was pleased to hear these works played in concert by a live Orchestra. That initial schoolboy learning process was transposed into wonder as I witnessed each member of the Philharmonic playing their part under the conductor for the audience’s delight. 

In an Orchestra, breath and hands on musical instruments bring sound to notes, as breath gives voice to words in praise of God and hands bring mercy and kindness to others. Just as music is the fuel to stir emotions, Christian love is the engine to move faith and hope into action. Our Christian life too, often starts with listening and following the scores (the Bible/the Liturgy/the Church Fathers), paying attention to the Teacher and Conductor of our life (Christ), and then working together (in fellowship)for the benefit and joy of others(evangelism). 

 

 Theme: Working together in Harmony

Luke 15:25
“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing.

 

When one desert father told another of his plans to “ shut himself into his cell and refuse the face of men, that he might perfect himself,” the second monk replied, “ Unless thou first amend thy life going to and fro amongst men, thou shall not avail to amend it dwelling alone.”

 

Many arrived and adjusted themselves to a listening mode in the auditorium.

The orchestra entered, settled themselves, tuned up and looked intently for the Conductor’s command.

Sound and silence became a dialogue.

Both the ones who played and those who listened melded into a dynamic organism;

 a heartbeat giving life to a body.

The union of loving strings buzzed as bees in a hive,

To shrive the withered minds and weary limbs,

 And having worked the nectar and shared the pollen from the hours of practice and rehearsal,

Produced the honey for those seated to taste.

 The audience feasted on the abundant sweet notes

 And were swept along and above to a higher form;

 from their mundane routine to another dimension.

They were moved, transported to the land

Of awe filled tears,

Where harmony is the currency,

Where sunshine sparkles

and dances on the ears.

 Beads of infinity permeate the throng in this communion song;

Inspiring first emotion, then empathy, followed by wonder and finally joy.

Such joy as can never be captured but glimpsed-only glimpsed,

In a gilded moment, felt in the heart,

digested in that part 

of the mind which is forever a child’s laugh or first remembered summer.

As food is energy to the body so is music nourishment for the soul.

Such provision was encouraged by a ministering angel’s smile, sent

In order for us to repent from worldly guile.

 

We are drawn into that scented circle, inexorably and imperiously drawn

By that mysterious sound that claims and wraps our tender frame.

“But why so little music in the Gospels?”

“Hosannas” with palms endorse a King 

And older Psalms, of course, to sing!

But where is the chorus for our dreams? 

Only for the Prodigal it seems!

Was music not given by God to grace the mind of all,

 make glad the heart, to heed the call?

Is there not harmony at the centre of the Universe?

Or is it that our lives in Christ should rehearse

 for heaven;

 reverse the ego’s trend and blend to be

 a sounding board with others in that greater symphony.

Epilogue

A Harmony with Thee

Glory be,

 Viva Vivaldi,

 Not I but we, 

Was blind now see, 

Oh Mystery,

Oi Agioi kai Angeloi,

 In unity 

with The Holy Trinity. 

 

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.

 

Saint Basil the Great

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“Emerald Lake” – Skra Waterfalls

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A Photo/ Video Blog

 

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Memories of Greek historical moments are mixed with the rare beauty of nature and the turquoise waters of an ancient lake.

These are the emotions one feels and the images that one sees as a visitor of Skra, the waterfalls and the famous “emerald lake”.

Skra is only 4 km away from the borders with FYROM and it spreads on the Northeast slopes of Paiko at an altitude of 520m. Its previous name was Lioumnitsa, while the current one is due to the proximal top Skra di Legken that during the First World War was the place of the homonymous battle field (Skra – Ravine). The battle was a decisive one for the course of the Greek State and the First World War.

With its characteristic proud old plane tree in the center of the village, Skra is considered to be a place of celebration in honor of the homonym battle, while every year on 17th of May a memorial ceremony for the officers and the soldiers of that battles belonging to the so called Greek Division of Crete and Archipelago is held at the Monument to those who died in 1918.

Since May 2002, the Museum of the First World War- Skra Battle has been operating in Skra, housed in a specially constructed area. The Museum exhibition presents relics, photos and historic documents from the Macedonian battles of the First World War, as well as from the victorious Skra battle. The well known victorious battle took place on May 17, 1918.

Near this settlement, the visitor faces a small miracle of nature. Through a wonderful path one can reach an area with rich vegetation, where one meets the first waterfall of Skra, at the root of which there is a small cave with stalactites. A little further on the path, the visitor is stunned by the beauty of the small “Blue Lake” or “Emerald Lake”, which owes its aquamarine emerald color of the water to the calcified and fossilized organisms of its bottom. Continuing on the path, the vegetation thickens and the ground is steeper. Here, one can see the second waterfall of Skra that falls with thunder over the rocks creating a stunning natural landscape.

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Memorial Service for the Fall of Constantinople

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Constantine XI Palaiologos (Gr: Κωνσταντίνος ΙΑ’ Δραγάσης Παλαιολόγος, also Dragases ), was the last reigning emperor of the Palaiologos Dynasty as well as the last of the Roman Emperors. Born in 1404 AD in Mystras, he ruled from 1449 until his death on May 29, 1453, at the Fall of Constantinople.

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The Feast by the Sunday School at Perivolaki

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Constantine was the son of Emperor Manuel II. He was trained as a soldier and in 1441 conquered the Morea Peninsula of Greece. It had long been under the Frankish principality of ‘Achaia’ Constantine was crowned Emperor January 6, 1449 AD succeeding his brother. A little less than five years later in 1453 AD he was killed during the final assaults by the Turkish Sultan, Mehmed II on Constantinople. Constantine, with some 8,000 Greeks, Venetians, and Genoese, had faced 150,000 Turkish besiegers under the Sultan, and after almost two months of heroic defense, directed by the emperor, the city and the empire fell. Constantine died fighting with the last of his men. Going back to Augustus and the ancient Roman Empire, he was the 138th and last Roman Emperor.

Orthodox in general do not consider Constantine XI a saint, though there are some who incorrectly, personally consider him so because of their love of the Byzantine (Roman) Empire. However, the last Emperor has never been recognized as a Saint due to his heretical beliefs and his compromising of the Faith in order to gain material aid from Latin lands. When the Empire was in need, he sought Latin military aid by reaffirming the heretical statements of the Council of Florence. And it is said that he defiled the Church of Agia Sophia the day/night before the Fall with a blended Divine Liturgy and Latin mass. In attempting to preserve an earthly Empire, he lost a Heavenly Kingdom. In contrast, there is Tzar Lazar of Serbia, who gave up an earthly Kingdom for the Heavenly. The Faith is always more important than earthly possessions. May our Compassionate Lord forgive him and all his transgresions. (Orthodoxwiki)

St. Ipomoni, Born as Helena Dragaš. Before becoming a nun and assuming the name Ipomoni, Helena was the mother of Constantine XI Palaiologos. She lived a monastic life for over 25 years, after entering into the habit after the death of her husband. She died 1450AD and is commemorated by the church May 29. The relics of her skull and her icon are found at the Monastery of St. Patapios, Loutraki of Korinthos, Greece.

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A Holy Warning

Elder Parthenios

Elder Parthenios of the Monastery of Saint Pavlos: Αn orthodox message from the Holy Mountain

“Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

The abbot of the Holy Monastery of Saint Pavlos, father Parthenios, speaks to you. I am in the monastery of Saint Pavlos since 1954 till now, with the help of our God, Virgin Mary and all of saints. Till now, we are blessed of God and we all celebrated the Holy Easter, with all of our happiness and love, the Risen of our Lord. This year it was the only year, since I came in the Mount Athos (Holy Mount), that we celebrated alone. Because all of the previous years we had with us more that 100-150-200 visitors, only in our Monastery. Together all the Monasteries of the Holy Mount had approximately 5,000 visitors, who have come every year, to honor the Holy Easter, the Risen of our Lord!

It was hard for me, that this was the year that we glory alone the God. Because of the measures they took, they left us alone with only few workers who are regular here. I am telling you that, with a lot of father’s love, I am in pain, in grief. Because all the faithful men who used to come here with us, were our consolation, to praise all together to the most important event, the Easter. All together we were chanting the pray of “Christ is Risen”, full of joy. Perhaps, God allowed this temptation to be penetrated, for our sins. Maybe He wants to activate us, cause the people got away from the Lord’s path and doing nonsense.

Our Churchs, all over the country, in Athens, in Thessaloniki and other where were like a cemetery. All the people were isolated in their houses; even the churches have closed their gates. What happened? What happened?

Unfortunately, our politicians trying to do their best. These are human measures, we cannot blame them. On the other hand, I am sending them a message. These measures are not enough. I am begging our politicians and our ecclesiastical authority, to shout at people to open the churches for the public, to go out on the roads, to take with them the holy icons and go for a litany, in order to beg our almighty God to obviate that temptation. The governors of this time cannot save us. Only the powerful God, He is the one who can save us. Open the doors of the churches, take the people outdoors, get the icons out, and get down on your knees, like the Ninevites did, to beg the God, His omnipotence, to quash this temptation. Otherwise, I don’t know where we will end up.

Please, do not be delusional, only God can save us, only our Lady Virgin, only the Saint Apostles and all the Saints together. Also can save us our pray and faith to God. “What did save the world?” “Our faith”!

Let all these thoughts of lukewarm and oligopolies, behind. We are Christians and I refer to the politicians who prepare to seal up/chip the people, but this will be their biggest scandal, because they not do justice to Christians. We, the Christians, strongly believe in His Almighty, we are baptized; we are anointed by the Holy Oil in the sealing of God. “Seal donation of the Holy Spirit, amen.”

Anyone who is not baptized, has the freedom to be sealed by the government, it is their decision. But do not force us, the Christians. Whatever you want to do against us, the God will be the Victor!

The God says: “Just as someone will confess in front of other people that he believes me, so I will do for him too, in front of my Father who live in the sky.” “Just as someone denies that he loves me, in front of the people, so I will do for him too.” Do not believe what the Zionists and Masons, the devils say; they do not believe in anything. On the other hand, we strongly believe in the real God. Whatever it takes, we confess Jesus Christ the Crucified we lean on Him our hopes, in his All-powers, nowhere else.

Many happy returns! Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Our Lord has beaten the world. He says: “Don’t be afraid! I have been beaten the world for you!” That is our confession and our faith! Thank you so much!

Source: Enomeni Romiosini

The Coronavirus Diary of a Joyous Pustynnik — 13

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Holy Week Highlights — a photoblog. Christ is Risen!

Nymfiosholy unction

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The Saints are delighted with the flowers! I eventually found the card. Thank you dearest sisters. I am overwhelmed, and all the saints in my icon corner are smiling.

Bleeding Crucifix today, on Holy Thursday, now in Athens, in Holy Andreas Chapel, Nursing Home Care

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Greek style! A flying priest! Go to https://ellada.press/vinteo-o-iptamenos-iereas-tis-chiou-edose-pali-resital-telos-sunelifthi/

And Cypriot style 🙂 Holy Saturday Vespers — How to make holy noise — Cypriot style 🙂
Please watch from 1:14:28 up to 1:17, and later, and pay attention to all details His Eminence Metropolitan Morfou

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This is one of the first Icons I “made.” It is a simple print stuck on to a piece of wood. I found it in my attic at the bottom of a cardboard box. 

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A Cardiologist in love with Christ

The Prodigal

A true story in a crowded and very busy hospital

Dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst!

Yesterday, I had an arthroscopic surgery. My right knee had been bothering me for a little while. I hoped it would go away but after an examination, and discussion with the orthopaedic surgeon who did the same thing on the same knee 10 years ago, we decided to have it done, again! Now the only reason why I mention this fact to you is because yesterday, while undergoing pre-operation checks, in just 5 minutes in a crowded and very busy hospital, I had a special blessing, an amazing “chance” encounter in His Providence of a cardiologist and a neighbour (!) in love with Christ.

In just a few minutes, while doing routine checks on my heart, we got to know each other quite well for such an unexpected encounter. Of course, any cardiologist must be intelligent enough, but how on earth did he guess my love for Christ and my life? It all happened so fast and it took just a few questions. When I left his office, on my way for the surgery, I had in my hands a slip of paper signed by a mysterious Youtube pen name: “KIXEM Euharistimenos”. ‘

Euharistimenos’ means ‘pleased’ in Greek; as to ‘KIXEM’, I am clueless, maybe a wanderer in Arabic? This cardiologist told me that he had started composing poetry and music while doing his specialisation as a medical student, and started his own studio to release his stress from exams. A few hours later, after the arthroscopic surgery and safely back home, while lying flat in my sofa and resting my leg, I searched the links in Youtube and came upon this, Wow! I was not prepared for this! 

This is the doctor, this must be his flat together with his amateur studio in our neighbourhood, and he uses another pen name: Seraphim Rose!

_Passito __ Kixem Euharistimenos

This is the kind of music he composes:

Mostly instrumental, but sometimes accompanied with simple lyrics, stunning images of saints and landscapes, and beautiful prayers and poems for Him. Like this one: “Glory to God”

 

Or this one: 1 Glory to God equals 1000 Kyrie Eleison (St. Paisios’ saying)

 

A few others of these Youtube compositions have the titles “A Beggar of Joy”, “A Dreamer”, “In Search of an Honest Man”, “A Breath of Life”, The Prodigal”, “Dance of Paradise”, “Thirst for God” etc. The lyrics are all in Greek but you can certainly enjoy his melodies and his beautiful photographs of Saints, churches and monasteries. Well, this cardiologist may not be Bach, but he is certainly very kind and full of His Love. Is not the Creator blessing the robin’s Doxology like the nightingale’s?  Fleetingly, I noticed how he treated his patients in the hospital: with an otherworldly purity of heart, respect, kindness and compassion. I have the feeling that we might meet again somewhere, in God’s Kairos. Has such an encounter ever happened to you recently? 

Your prayers

 

 

With the Eyes of the Soul

 

PREMIERE: “With the Eyes of the Soul”, the long awaited release of a video on the life of Saint Porphyrios, one of Orthodoxy’s most well known contemporary elders who happened to live most of his life working as a priest in a clinic chapel in Athens, Greece.  This video uses multiple voice actors and presents both a linear narrative about his life intertwined with accounts of healings and wonders that occurred at various times. 

The Miracle of the True Cross

 

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Holy Cross, Romanos III, with the hole of a nail from the Crucifixion

The miracle displayed in the video below is the traditional mark of authenticity of any splinter of wood which people might claim to be a segment of the true Holy Wood. The video shows a monk from Mount Athos placing the splinter of the Holy Wood in a glass of water. Initially, the splinter naturally floats, but after the monk says the Trisagion prayer, Psalms 50 and 142 , and makes the sign of the Cross three times with this splinter on the water, when he places it in the water again, the splinter sinks to the bottom. 

The monk also displays a fragrant relic of St. Haralambos towards the end for veneration.

 

 

 

Come To Me….

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Athonite Film Wins Award at International Film Competition

 
Monks and students at Athoniada Ecclesiastical Academy participated in the 3rd International Cinema Competition with a short film titled Come To Me….
 
The final ranking was announced in Athens on May 25, 2017 at the Michael Kakoyannis Foundation during the award ceremony. It was one of seven films awarded out of 290.
 
Athoniada Academy is a school that operates out of Karyes on Mount Athos. It was originally founded in 1749 by Ecumenical Patriarch Cyril V and housed in a building of Vatopaidi Monastery.
 
The school provides a junior high school and high school education, with free housing, schooling and food, and the students live a common life.
 
All the necessary facilities for living such as washing machines, dryers, sports, table games, books from its modern library, computer room with modern computers, etc. are available.
 
All the students are taught what is also taught in public schools, and additionally there is offered Ecclesiastical Music, Iconography, Liturgics, Teleliturgics, Athonite History, Interpretation of Gospel Passages and Patristic Texts, Ethics, and other things.
 
See the award-winning short film prepared by the Athoniada Academy students: